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Leo Baptistão not staying with Villarreal, and other news

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Leo's frequent injuries were surely a factor here. He looked good in preseason, but never could stay healthy and put together back-to-back impressive perfomances.

Rather too much of this, I'm afraid.
Rather too much of this, I'm afraid.
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Leo Baptistão is no longer a Villarreal player,  the Submarine front office having told Atletico Madrid they are not goign to exercise his purchase option.  In spite of the fact Marcelino clearly liked him, he just couldn't really offer enough to justify spending €6m.

So does that mean Giuseppe Rossi is likely to wear yellow again?  Not according to EPM, who report Villarreal scouts who watched Levante numerous times in the last half of the season have doubts about Rossi's ability to 'play at the highest level'.  So that move looks less likely.

Nahuel Leiva is certainly not in Villarreal's first team plans next year; this year was sort of a lost season for him as he--rather like Leo--looked good in preseason, but when the games counted, he didn't do much.  But sending him back to the B team doesn't make any sense, so word is he will be loaned to Sporting Gijón--at least, Villarreal and Sporting have agreed, Nahuel has to give his OK.  This makes sense since Sporting still has severe financial restrictions that force them to rely on loanees, and players like Alen Halilovic who played on the wing for Sporting this year were only on loan and won't be back.

It's being reported again that Villarreal are interested in Steve Mandanda.  He will be available on a free transfer next month after finishing his Mareseille contract.  This article says Everton are interested in him as well, this one says Liverpool (I know, it's the Express, but...).  Regardless, it comes down to playing regularly in the league versus European football, neither of which the Merseyside clubs can offer.  He'd certainly be a good alternate.